Wednesday, November 7, 2007
Why Was God Unhappy When Adam And Eve Covered Themselves?
Christian naturists contend that God was not at all pleased when Adam and Eve covered their naked bodies. When God asked, "Who told you that you were naked?" the text seems to imply that God was more than a bit perturbed.
God's disapproval of eating the forbidden fruit is impossible to miss. Nevertheless, there's something else that may not be nearly as obvious. According to some interpreters, even though God was furious about them eating the fruit, he was even more upset about them wearing fig leaves. When God discovered that they had covered their bodies, he asked two probing questions: First God asked, "Who told you that you were naked?" Only then did God asked, "Have you eaten the fruit I commanded you not to eat?" Some conclude that God prioritized his questions, starting with the greatest transgression (i.e. being ashamed of human nakedness and wearing clothes) and concluded with the lesser transgression (i.e. eating the forbidden fruit).
This, in my judgment, is far from conclusive. Yet it is interesting to consider. It's also perhaps more than just a coincidence that the Hebrew word for "nakedness" is "arom," while the Hebrew word for cunning is also "arom." So when the Bible says the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field, it is saying the serpent was more "arom" than any beast of the field (Genesis, 2:25-3:1).
According to the account, upon hearing God approaching, they run and hid. God asks Adam where he's hiding. It didn't take God long to find his hiding place. But here's what's puzzling: In spite of the fact that he was fully clothed with fig leaves, and in spite of the fact that God had seen him naked many times before, Adam responds with: "I heard you, so I hid. I was afraid because I was naked (NLT)."
According to Christian naturists, the text implies that their shame was not given to them from God. Rather, it was a direct result of their disobedience. God even seems upset that they covered themselves.So what were Adam and Eve ashamed of? And who were they hiding their bodies from? Since they were married, they probably weren't hiding their bodies from each other. Furthermore, there were no other humans around at that time. So the only reasonable explanation seems to be that their fig leaves were a failed attempt to hide their sins from God.
Many Christians would probably agree with those conclusions... up to a point. "Sure," they retort, "it's perfectly fine for married couples to be nude within the privacy of their bedroom. But we now live on a planet populated by billions of people. Therefore, we shouldn't expose our naked bodies to people outside of this exclusive marital relationship. Besides, even God himself clothed Adam and Eve."
A Christian naturist might respond by pointing out that although God did make garments from animal skins to replace their fig leaves, this was simply to protect them from the harsher elements east of Eden. Let's face it; even the most enthusiastic enthusiast of nudism appreciates warm clothing on a cold winter's day. So even though it makes a whole lot of sense for Santa to wear warm clothes at the North Pole, it makes no sense to wear clothes in the South Pacific.
Another consideration is, most Christian naturists don't wish to offend others. Plus, most people, nudist or not, don't appreciate being gawked at. And only hardcore activists for nudist rights are willing to risk jail time for indecent exposure.
Christians who oppose nudism point out that exposing female bodies in a public setting would be a continual source of irresistible temptation for most heterosexual men. The warning Jesus gave, which prohibits lustful looking, is sometimes used to drive this point home. Most Christians are cognisant of this biblical prohibition. Therefore, many contend that the last thing society needs now is to have alluring babes prancing around in close proximity to typical testosterone-driven males wearing nothing but their birthday suit. Does society really need an acceleration of male hormones getting all shook up like Elvis the Pelvis on steroids?
On the flip side, if someone bearing a close resemblance to a frighteningly repugnant bat or rhino makes a public display of their private parts, we might prefer that things be kept under wraps; unless, of course, we have a skewed fetish for frighteningly repugnant bats or rhinos.Christian naturists argue that being "nude" doesn't necessarily equate with being "lewd." Although it is true that a man might be tempted to view a naked woman inappropriately, beauty is, after all, in the eyes of the beholder. Besides, Jesus didn't say it is wrong to look lustfully at naked women. He said it was wrong to look lustfully at women period. Certainly men can and do look lustfully at women no matter what their state of dress or undress happens to be.
It might surprise most non-nudists than most nudists oppose pornography. And although some nudist resorts cater to swingers, most do not.